As 2023 comes to a close, here are some reflections from Gerlas van den Hoven, CEO of Genexis Group, about the broadband market during the past year, what we can expect for 2024 and how Genexis is meeting market needs.
1. The demand for broadband is stable but with diverse deployment scenarios.
Most of the broadband industry would agree that the appetite for high-speed broadband access continues to grow and it’s evident that the industry has experienced a transformative year. As witnessed at events that my colleagues and I attended, including Connected Britain, FiberConnect in the US, NetworkX in Paris, and many more, there were recurring conversations about the challenges that communication service providers (CSPs) face. Many of these challenges will spill over into 2024, even 2025.
Top concerns include prioritizing broadband investments that deliver long-term benefits over short-term gains. Conversations revolve around multi-year plans and interoperability, indicating a more strategic perspective on connectivity. Packaging and monetizing user-friendly services and experiences to retain and grow the customer base are also top of mind. An underlying challenge for service providers is managing technology transitions and vendor options cost-effectively.
At Genexis, we focus on helping our customers meet these challenges with our Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) and Connected Home solutions. We believe everyone deserves to be connected to fiber broadband at their home, and we make it easy for service providers, installers, and end-users. We enable fast and friendly fiber connectivity with the lowest cost of ownership and complete interoperability for every scenario.
2. FTTH is evolving and CSPs must effectively manage PON upgrades and ensure interoperability.
We are at a tipping point for FTTH and Passive Optical Network (PON) technology. Some CSPs are shifting from cable or Point-to-Point (PtP) to PON technology, while others are already transitioning to XGS-PON. 10G PON Optical Network Terminals (ONTs) are expected to take over the majority of PON ONT shipments in 2024. We can see the adoption of XGS-PON has moved from its early phase to widespread acceptance. The demand for high broadband speeds prompts CSPs to choose diverse deployment scenarios. Some are eager to be at the forefront, embracing XGS-PON immediately, while others continue with GPON for the near term.
We support our customers across various phases and deployment scenarios, providing complete flexibility in technology adoption and management of PON interoperability (interop). Interop was a significant topic during the year and will continue to be so for some time. One solution to help manage interop is our innovative autosensing software, TrueTalk™. In 2023, we presented the software embedded in Genexis PON products, including the widely deployed FiberTwist product series.
“Many operators are taking incremental steps to prepare for network changes and upgrades. TrueTalk ensures that the ONT automatically detects the OLT vendor and its line card and adapts it to the applied protocol. This provides successful OLT-ONT interop on any PON network. TrueTalk is particularly relevant for operators who want to benefit from more OLT vendor choices or plan changes to the central network. The autosensing software mitigates the risks associated with technology migration,” says Reinier Kramer, COO FTTH at Genexis.
We are committed to delivering interop to our customers and work with open standards to offer optimal flexibility. Our in-house PON labs and experts ensure interop works with the OLT and the specific customer network. Moving forward, we will continue expanding our 10G and XGS-PON product portfolio to match our customers’ FTTH needs.
3. Wi-Fi 6 in connected homes needs a software focus.
We also see that the connected home landscape is evolving, focusing on Wi-Fi 6 and the anticipation of Wi-Fi 7 later in 2024. At Genexis, we are meeting service providers’ needs for faster deployment of Wi-Fi 6 products. We launched our next-generation residential gateway, the Aura E650 Wi-Fi 6 high-capacity residential gateway. With speeds up to 2.5 Gbps, the gateway enables connected devices to run with quality connectivity, providing a better end-user experience. It has a sustainable design built with 90% recycled plastic and complies with the European Code of Conduct on Energy Consumption of Broadband Equipment.
But how can CSPs effectively manage the costs of new residential gateways from different vendors?
“We recommend a software-centric approach to address the pain point of ensuring consistency and integration across generations. One example is how our OpenWrt-based software named IOWRT is enabling EE, a major UK operator, to execute its vision of a dynamic open-source-based operating system that is the same on any hardware, embraces any service and enables industry-leading customer experiences in a substantially shorter time. ” describes Conny Franzén, VP Genexis Group
4. More focus on sustainability from the whole industry
While the industry is working hard on deploying fiber networks, we also see a growing concern and urgency to reduce resources, waste, and emissions from network operations, upgrades, and deployments. As a supplier and CSP partner, we are actively reducing our footprint and taking a leading position in developing sustainable business and products.
“Sustainability is a high priority for us and an integral part of our overall company strategy. We have moved forward in our sustainability journey by setting targets and tracking our performance. During the year, our science-based targets were accepted, we issued the sustainability-linked bond, and we were recognized with a Gold medal by EcoVadis Sustainability Rating. We still have work to do, but we want to see more of our industry peers also take an active role in bringing sustainability into the forefront,” says Olivier van Duuren, Sustainability Officer at Genexis.
As we step into 2024, managing different deployment phases, handling the transition to PON and Wi-Fi 6 and 7 technologies, and shining a light on sustainability performance within the industry are the critical trends we see impacting the broadband market. Genexis is committed to meeting the needs of our customers as we develop the industry together. We aim to bring the world to everyone’s home!
Author: Gerlas van den Hoven